There’s a very slim chance any remaining Republican candidate will secure the Republican nomination prior to the convention. The possibility of an open convention has wrought all kinds of conspiracy theories, doomsday scenarios, and wish casting.

Which is probably why the RNC decided to make this little explainer video:

To supplement the “How Conventions Work” video, the RNC published a handy expansion to their site called “Convention Facts.”

By now, most political folks understand delegate math and are familiar with the magic 1,237 number required to win the nomination. But there’s still a fair amount of confusion about how delegates are selected, what their responsibilities are, and what they’re required to do.

how are republican delegates selected

Campaigns who’ve fostered good relationships with state parties are better off in an open or contested convention scenario where delegates have an opportunity to be persuaded.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus promised the convention will not drag on indefinitely through a gazillion ballots until a winner is selected, but that doesn’t mean a Republican nominee will be selected in the first ballot. And that’s where things get interesting.

Most candidates are “bound,” or required to vote for a certain candidate on the first ballot. The rules vary by state, but on the second ballot, the majority of delegates are “unbound.”

Worth remembering — the RNC does not endorse candidates nor are they allowed to provide preferential treatment to any candidate until they have secured the nomination for their respective race. This applies not only to presidential primaries, but to Congressional and Senate races as well. The RNC also reiterated their responsibilities in the convention since that’s largely misunderstood, “the RNC plays a purely administrative role at Convention, ensuring that the rules and processes are carried out in a transparent manner.”

Stay tuned for Professor Jacobson’s upcoming post on convention strategies at play.

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